Awareness is the first step

Published 8:51 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Library Week, Dispatchers Week, Child Abuse Awareness Month. April is a month during which many issues are recognized nationwide.

But why? Why does the federal government feel the need to point the national spotlight on certain issues? It’s not as if we don’t know libraries are great, dispatchers save lives and child abuse is something that everyone should always be aware of.

It’s because in the hubbub of our daily lives, between work and dinner, ferrying kids to soccer practice and finding time to be social, we often forget about services that don’t touch our lives on a daily basis.

That is, until we need them: until we lose electricity in the aftermath of a storm and there’s no Internet connection to be had for days, weeks, except at the library (as happened in Aurora after Hurricane Irene); until we have to make that dreaded 911 call and find the guiding light, the voice, that will steer us through an emergency; until we suspect that something’s not quite right with a child and know there’s somewhere to turn to share those suspicions.

A week, a month, designated on a national scale serves as a reminder of the issues that should always be prevalent, but often get buried.

Take the time to visit the library this week and learn about the programs and services offered — maybe volunteer or donate to the many “friends” organizations that support this community service. Send a card to the local dispatchers at the county 911 and/or Washington Police Department and let them know their work is appreciated. Attend the children’s parade this Friday at 10 a.m. on the waterfront in Washington and watch the joy of young children and their caregivers who come together to celebrate the Week of the Young Child.

Awareness is the first step in creating real change — let’s all use this week to become a little more aware of those important issues.